Since 1980, Boutique Francoise is an established store for denim trends and fashion in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The owner Francoise Kaminke and her daughter and store manager Joelle Kaminke, who studied fashion management at the LTD Nagold, add a personal and creative atmosphere to the shop, which has customers from all over Germany. Next to alternating decoration worlds, the shop features an exceptional mix of current trends from premium denim, accessories, sneakers and selected high fashion pieces every season. In our interview, Joelle Kaminke discusses the store’s unique selection, the importance of a personal approach to the customers and how old fashioned communication can be modern. Interview by Alexandra Spiegel

Bands of LA
Bands of LA
What is the story behind – who founded the store and when was it? What was the idea or inspiration for that store?
Since ever, fashion was the passion of my mother Francoise Kaminke, who is the owner of the store. The opportunity to be creative, to advise every customer individually and to earn our income from it, have led to the foundation of “Boutique Francoise” in 1980.

What are the current Francoise bestsellers and why?
In this summer, the label Bands of LA was setting a trend in our store. The colorful, hand weaved belts from the US label add a casual and individual touch to every outfit, without big efforts – it’s a must-have for every denim lover.

Where do you order from? How do you inform yourself about trends?
Next to Düsseldorf and Milan, the Paris Fashion Week is the most important and interesting order platform for us. The designers we present in our store are located in Paris, for example Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester, where they’re showing their collections in showrooms and at fashion shows. In Paris we always discover something like a young label or a new trend. At the trade fairs you can see the international fashion crowd with their unique outfits and hair-does. It’s incredibly exciting and inspiring - you have to keep your ears and eyes open so that you don’t miss something.

Premium denim looks
Premium denim looks
Did you add any new labels to your assortment?
The customer from today is always informed, constantly online and supersaturated quickly. We try to set us apart and surprise our customers. For that reason we are always on the lookout for special, sometimes also more unknown labels, which are not available at every online shop. This season we present for example NSF and Each x Other. With R13, already for the 4th season, we had a lucky hit with its very cool jeans as well as casual sweatshirts and jackets.

What sets your stores apart from the local competition: How does your store differ from other stores in decoration, style and concept? How important is the interior and the atmosphere?
At first we differ from other stores through our special assortment. We offer an extraordinary mix, from casual denim to the high fashion dress. Although Kaiserslautern is a small town, we could create a mix, which indeed could work in a metropolis. Moreover, we have the aim, that our windows are more than just decoration. It is every time like a new staging and in that way we can create different moods. Each time again, our customers are excited about it.

Boutique Francoise window
Boutique Francoise window
What denim fits and styles are the most popular ones? Which premium denim trend awaits us in fall/winter 2014?
Of course the Skinny Jeans is still a subject. In contrast to that, casual fits like the boyfriend jeans establish more and more, what I personally like. A new interpretation of this style is for example the “Boy Skinny” from R13 with slim legs and a loose cut or back-to-basic like at NSF with solid denim without any stretch. In fall/winter 2014, the focus in our denim section will be on black and grey washings with destroyed or very clean finishes. The blue jeans will stay a classic. And a good alternative to leather pants is coated denim.

How do you communicate with your customers? Do you also run social media channels?
Communication with our customers is the most important for us. Compared to other colleagues, we use the old fashioned way of communication as we try to keep in touch on a personal way. We also use emails, but we don’t have weekly newsletters. Online our customers can inform themselves through our homepage and we also run a Facebook page. About our brands the customers can inform themselves for example at “The Labelfinder”. Also our windows are an important medium for us in that we invest a lot of time and money. Our customers perceive a creative decorated window as outstanding within the daily advertising overload. Therefore, we have set up a very big fanbase and gain a lot of positive feedback.

Joelle Kaminke, store manager, and Francoise Kaminke, owner
Joelle Kaminke, store manager, and Francoise Kaminke, owner
What is the “secret” of being a successful retailer today?
Since over 30 years we are running Boutique Francoise. For us, fashion is more than a job. Fashion means fun for us; we are passionate about our work and try to share this enthusiasm with our customers. Over all the years it has shown that honest and individual advice is paying off.
The customers trust us and our taste and feel very comfortable so that they also take long distances to visit the store. Next to a good atmosphere, the own signature style and a good nose for trends, it is also important to offer a diverse assortment. We don’t always choose the safe way, but we also try extreme and exceptional products. Mostly these are the highlights which we sell first.

Boutique Francoise

Eisenbahnstraße 10
67655 Kaiserslautern
+49(0)631 64909